NEW YORK (AP)
Two men who went missing in the Atlantic Ocean for 10 days on the way to Florida after a storm hit their sailboat off North Carolina thanked the tanker crew that rescued them, saying they were lucky to have survived.
“By some bizarre chance” a crew member of the Silver Muna happened to spot the sailboat off the coast of Delaware on Tuesday even though it was “a toothpick” compared to the tanker, rescued sailor Kevin Hyde said at a news conference Wednesday.
Hyde, 65, praised the Silver Muna’s lookout protocol. “Their training paid off and they found us,” he said.
Hyde, Joe DiTomasso and a pet dog were sailing from New Jersey to Florida when the men lost contact with their families on Dec. 3 off North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
Hyde, speaking after he, DiTomasso and the dog were brought ashore in New York City on Wednesday, said the pair were “sailing along, having a good time” and headed toward Cape Hatteras when a huge storm blew them off course and blew the mast off their boat, the Atrevida II.
The boat also lost power and fuel. “So by that time, we were just being pushed out to sea farther and farther,” Hyde said.
The men had little food and ran out of water. “We didn’t have water for two days,” DiTomasso said. “And I bought these beans. And the best part about the beans, they had water in them. They were soaked in water. And we’re taking sips at a time.”
The men described fearsome waves. “Youse don’t know what 40-foot waves look like,” DiTomasso said. “How high’s this building? How high’s the roof?”
The U.S. Coast Guard was notified that the sailors were overdue on Sunday and began a search that spanned the waters from northern Florida to New Jersey, Coast Guard officials said in a news release.
But it was the crew of the Silver Muna that spotted the Atrevida II some 214 miles (344 kilometers) east of Delaware on Tuesday.
“This is an excellent example of the maritime community’s combined efforts to ensure safety of life at sea,” Cmdr. Daniel Schrader, spokesperson for Coast Guard Atlantic Area, said.